Defence SERE Training

Defence Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation (DSTO)


To be the SERE Centre of Excellence for all UK SERE Training.


The delivery and assurance of quality SERE training on behalf of Defence in order to support current and contingent operations.

The Defence Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation (DSTO) has been based at RAF St Mawgan since December 2008; it is a Tri-Service organisation formed by the co-location of the Royal Navy and RAF survival schools and the Resistance Training Wing.

The DSTO is working in support of the defence mission by delivering operationally focused Body SERE training to members of the UK Armed Forces, from all 3 Services, deploying overseas on operations. Personnel travelling overseas will receive relevant pre-deployment training dependant on their role to ensure their safety and ability to operate effectively, and to maximise their chances of survival if separated from their units, on land and at sea. Whilst the DSTO has maintained a strong focus on deployed operations, it also delivers basic land and maritime survival training to ensure that Tri-Service aircrew maintain the survival skills in order to continue to fly in support of operations.

The DSTO has training teams comprised of approximately 100 permanent staff from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and Army. These are tasked with delivering Land Survival Training approximately 23 different types of courses throughout the year, training some 5,000 service personnel. Training is delivered in the local area, elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

Whilst the focus is on running courses, the Unit is taking strides in the development of SERE training to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the Armed Forces on current and future operations. Demand for SERE training within the military is growing, and so the unit has to adapt to meet this requirement.

The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have a rich heritage in survival training, and it is their experience in SERE training that led to the formation of the DSTO in its current guise. The army however add vast experience in specific land elements of survival as it is closely aligned to skills at the core of soldiering, along with experience in the training of Special Forces personnel.

Crown Copyright 2017

Defence Royal Air Force Survival History

Royal Air Force Survival Training; Air sea rescue launch is a welcome sight to personnel onboard dinghy, 1960s

First RAF Air Sea Rescue (ASR) School established at Blackpool 30 May 1943 paving the way for the development of SERE training...

Defence Royal Navy Survival History

Royal Navy Survival Training; Royal Navy wet dinghy drills in static water tank c. 1950

November 1943, Royal Navy Survival Euipment embryo branch born...

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